Drawing on the Grace of God

We…plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. —2 Corinthians 6:1

The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”— that is where our patience is tested (2 Corinthians 6:4). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.

“…in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors…” (2 Corinthians 6:5)— in all these things, display in your life a drawing on the grace of God, which will show evidence to yourself and to others that you are a miracle of His. Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself. One of the greatest proofs that you are drawing on the grace of God is that you can be totally humiliated before others without displaying even the slightest trace of anything but His grace.

“…having nothing….” Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you. “…and yet possessing all things”— this is poverty triumphant (2 Corinthians 6:10).

Jesus Christ is always unyielding to my claim to my right to myself. The one essential element in all our Lord’s teaching about discipleship is abandon, no calculation, no trace of self-interest. Disciples Indeed

OSWALD CHAMBERS

The Blessing of Loving Others

1 Peter 1:22

If we responded simply out of natural impulses, we would probably be nice when people were kind to us. At other times, though, we’d likely be vengeful, angry, or hurtful.

Yet Jesus clearly teaches us to love even when those around us seem unlovable. And He lived out what He taught: Jesus Christ loved us enough to die on the cross for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). Surely, out of gratitude for what He did and in reliance on the Lord’s strength, we—His followers—can love others (1 John 3:14).

While it’s hard to respond to unkindness with love, such godly behavior can lead to great blessing. First, God is pleased with us; this realization should bring His children joy, peace, and a sense of accomplishment. Next, believers ought to feel anticipation to see how the Lord will move in the relationship. Finally, there will be an awareness that the Holy Spirit is working from within, enabling divine love to flow through human lives yielded to Him.

John 13:35 tells of another important benefit: Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Since unconditional godly love is not the norm in our world, people will take notice when they see it demonstrated.

Treating others as we want to be treated is what builds the deep, satisfying connections all people desire. Without significant relationships, life lacks purpose and meaning no matter how many possessions or acquaintances we have. So think about the people you come in contact with throughout the week. Are you treating them the way Jesus modeled—with love?

The Meek of the Earth

“Seek ye the LORD all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger.” (Zephaniah 2:3)

This phrase, “the meek of the earth,” occurs three times in the Bible (see also Psalm 76:9, which promises their salvation; and Isaiah 11:4, which assures them justice). Our text promises deliverance from God’s wrath.

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5), said Jesus, referring to the promise of Psalm 37:11: “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

There are many other similar promises: “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way” (Psalm 25:9). “He will beautify the meek with salvation” (Psalm 149:4), so we need to put on “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4).

That meekness is not weakness is made clear from the first use of the word in the Bible. “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Moses was strong and courageous, but also deeply humble and self-sacrificing; a man of prayer and trust in the Word of God, willing to defend it at all costs. The Lord Jesus defined meekness in terms of His own human character: “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29).

A meek spirit enables a Christian to maintain composure in the face of opposition, to accept adversity without complaint, promotion without arrogance, demotion without resentment. It produces a peace that no trouble can disturb and that no prosperity can puff up. Therefore, as our text commands: “Seek meekness!” HMM

The Greatness of God’s Love

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8

If I were to try to talk about the greatness of love I would only run in circles, because I can’t speak of that which cannot be spoken of. But to break it down a little, this love of God is an attribute of God, which means it is eternal, immutable and infinite. It never began to be and it can never end; it can never change and there is no boundary to it….

Every time God thinks about you, He thinks about you lovingly. Even if He must chastise you, or allow hardships to come to you, it is love that allows it to come and love that sends it. And we never should be afraid of love, because love casts out fear….

The best preservative in the world is the love of God. Some people believe in the security of the saints from theological grounds. They take it from a text somewhere. I believe in the security of the saints because God is love and God always keeps that which He loves. We always keep what we love—always….

He loves us so that no creature—neither seraphim nor cherubim nor archangel nor principality nor power nor all of them added together in all the vast universe of God—can ever hope to know how over passingly great is the love of God, and how tenderly, how sweetly and how much He loves us.

Lord, I can’t even comprehend the immensity of Your love for me. May I be aware of all the expressions of Your love that I encounter as I go about my day. Amen.

Lord Our Living

Who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:10)

I have studied the New Testament enough to know that our Lord Jesus Christ never made the sharp distinctions between “secular” and “sacred” that we do!

I think it is wrong to place our physical necessities on one side, and put praying and singing and giving and Bible reading and testifying on the other.

When we are living for the Lord and living to please and honor Him, eating our breakfast can be just as spiritual as having our family prayers. There is no reason for a committed Christian to apologize: “Lord, I am awfully sorry but you know I have to eat now. I will be with you again just as soon as I am through.”

Well, we have a better way than that in our living for God, and we see as we consider His feeding of the 5,000 the meaning of His Lordship. Jesus Christ is Lord—Lord of our bread and Lord of our eating and Lord of our sleeping, and Lord of our working!

Brethren, our Lord is with us, sanctifying everything we do, provided it is honest and good.

Our Lord Jesus has not died in vain

When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed.— Isa. 53:10.

Our Lord Jesus has not died in vain. His death was sacrificial; he died as our substitute, because death was the penalty of our sins, and because his substitution was accepted of God. He has saved those for whom he made his soul a sacrifice. By death he became like the corn of wheat, which bringeth forth much fruit.—There must be a succession of children to Jesus; he is “the Father of the everlasting age.” He shall say, “Behold, I and the children whom thou hast given me.”